In recent days Mumbai has been seized of a whodunnit of another kind. After a speeding Aston Martin owned by Reliance Ports mowed into two cars on the posh Peddar Road on the night of December 8, the identity of the driver remains unclear, and the police is treading carefully in the matter, reports Rediff.com's Prasanna Zore..
Residents of tony South Mumbai are no strangers to either expensive four-wheelers or speed demons. Still, an accident involving an Aston Martin (on the road price: Rs 2.75 crore/Rs 27.5 million at the time of its India launch in 2011), ramming into an Audi and Hyundai Elantra on the night of Sunday, December 8, has left the city agog.
For the accident on the intervening night of Sunday-Monday at 1.30 am on Peddar Road, south Mumbai, did not simply involve high-end cars, it also involved the leading corporate house in the country.
The speeding Aston Martin, it transpired, was registered in the name of Reliance Ports.
After the accident, the driver abandoned the car on the road and sped away in the accompanying SUVs carrying bodyguards.
The mystery only deepened on Monday when Bansi Joshi, a chauffeur with the Reliance group, surrendered to the police.
"A 50, 55-year-old man cannot drive a car at a speed of 150 kmph to 200 kmph. I saw a young man walking out of the Aston Martin and walk up to a car and was taken away briskly. The person who walked out was not injured," Vikram Misra, who was driving the Elantra that was hit by the Aston Martin, told this correspondent.
The police were reluctant to file a complaint when he approached them, Misra added. The police officer, Ravindra Pawar, has since been served a showcause notice, according to the newspapers for this lapse, he said.
"Ask them if I did not lodge an FIR (First Information Report)," countered Pawar when Rediff.com met him at the Gamdevi police station, under whose jurisdiction falls Peddar Road.
"We were driving the Elantra and the Aston Martin hit us from behind," recalls Misra. "It first hit the Audi and then it hit us from behind. The car (the Aston Martin) was going northwards. We were also going in the same direction. It (the Aston Martin) hit us badly and our car is completely damaged."
Interestingly, four days after the accident, the police are yet to arrest Bansi Joshi, the chauffeur, and have so far only recorded his statement.
Pawar refused to speak to this correspondent about the showcause notice issued to him for alleged lapses in performing his duty, if any FIR was lodged in the case, the CCTV footage obtained by the police, the number of CCTV cameras installed on Peddar Road and how many among them were in working condition.
"You write whatever you want to. I don't have anything to say," Pawar said, dismissing questions about the accident.
"Why have the police not yet arrested the person who was driving the car? Obviously, we would want the person driving the car to be arrested or let the police take whatever appropriate action is needed in such cases," fumes Misra.
The police, it is said, do not want to make any hasty move in the matter, and so are examining CCTV footage from one of the most affluent areas in the country, questioning everybody involved.
They are examining the Aston Martin for any DNA traces. Till they come to a conclusion, and perhaps even after, Mumbai will continue to discuss this particular hit-and-run.
Image: The Aston Martin after the accident.